The Russians are coming, says tourism chief

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Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo on Thursday said she and her Russian counterparts have signed a cooperation agreement that would pave the way for more Russian tourists visiting Philippine travel destinations.

The Joint Action Program of Tourism Cooperation (JAPTC), signed by Teo and officials of the Federal Agency of Tourism of Russia, was one of nine bilateral agreements sealed by the two countries during President Duterte’s shortened visit.

“The Russians are coming though they are very particular about safety and security in any prospective destination. The agreement signifies Moscow’s confidence in the Philippine government’s capability to resolve peace and order issues,” Teo said in a statement.

She noted that Russia was listed among the “high growth markets” posting 9,152 arrivals in January-February period this year, a 29.24-percent increase from last year.

With the rising number of Russian tourists, Teo said Russian government was exploring the possibilities of organizing a Russian language training program for Filipino tourism industry workers.

The JAPTC is also expected to expand tourist flow between the Philippines and Russia as both parties agree to assist each other in establishing contacts between Philippine and Russian national tourism organizations, Teo said.

The JAPTC states that both parties would exchange information related to ensure tourists’ safety in the territory of the country.

While in Moscow, the tourism secretary met with private tourism businessmen, including the Russian travel and tour agency Vand International, Svetlana Muromskaya, who had already visited the Philippines 11 times.

“Our clients have very good opinion of the Philippines. The people, especially, are very nice. Fifty percent of Russians who go to the Philippines become repeat clients. They come back after a year or two,” the Department of Tourism quoted Muromskaya as saying.

Muromskaya said that aside from education and training, the exchange of information and expertise among tourist organizations of both countries was crucial in spurring tourism activity.

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